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Environment

Researchers aim for faster water contamination test

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by ANGELICA A. MORRISON / Cornell's Ruth Richardson explains the water testing process.
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Cornell's Ruth Richardson explains the water testing process.

Many are heading to the beach to escape the hot temperatures this summer, only to find the water is closed. Now, a group of researchers is trying out a new method that could deliver water testing results faster.

Camp counselor Matt Bartosz has been working with kids at Woodlawn Beach for most of the summer and, he says, the water is rarely open for swimming.

“We only went in the water once, because it’s always closed,” he said.

The water is sometimes closed for swimming, because of elevated bacteria levels.

At Woodlawn, a method is used where results are provided daily.

“At this beach, and a few other beaches, they use another modeling tool, because there was a lot of rain last night, they also put in wind direction and things like that,” said Cornell's Ruth Richardson. “Most beaches around the country don’t have such a model.”

For many beaches around the Great Lakes region, there’s a 24-hour turnaround period for water testing.

Richardson’s group is working to improve that. They were at Woodlawn taking water samples and trying out a new process for water testing.

The group is traveling around the state testing water. They'll be compiling their results and if everything looks promising, then they'll start the process of getting approval to use this approach.

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